In accordance with the Russian legislation a foreigner is required to apply for a visa pursuant purpose of travel submitting the following documents to the relevant authorities (Russian Embassy or Consulate):
An ordinary tourist visa is issued for a period of up to one month or on the basis of the principle of reciprocity for a period of up to six months to foreign citizens traveling to Russia as tourists, if holding an invitation letter by a Russian tour operator.
An ordinary tourist group visa is issued for a period of up to one month to foreign citizens traveling to Russia as a tourist in an organized tourist group (not less than five people), of holding a confirmation by an organization in the unified federal register of tour operators.
Passengers visiting Russia via cruise ship can stay in Russia visafree for up to 72 hours, provided that they spend the night on-board or in accommodation specifically approved by the travel agency.
do not need a Russian visa if travelling as part of a tour group (from 5 to 50 persons) accompanied by a representative of a tour operator registered in both countries.
The best way to avoid any hustle would be to apply for a visa well in advance of your trip. And please remember that a foreign citizen must leave the Russian Federation upon the expiry of the authorized period of stay, so make sure to return from Russia before the visa expires.
Along with the passport there must be produced a migration card in order to register a foreign citizen. Foreign citizens entering Russia fill migration cards upon arrival indicating the data given in the visa. Then, arriving at their destination the documents must be submitted to the host party for further migration registration. Registration is required to be done within 7 business days since the date of arrival to each place of stay in Russia, and 5 business days in Belarus accordingly.
* Tourist documents or the original invitation, as appropriate, must be presented to the Russian Immigration authorities.
** The visa-free regime does not apply to Diplomatic and Service passport holders.